By Codi Shewan
As a leader, do you ever wonder why your team members aren’t engaged? Do you ever wonder why they’re not contributing more, or why they seem to be uninterested in what they’re doing?
Do you ever feel as a leader as though you’re in an engagement recession: increased change in our profession resulting in economic uncertainty, leading to anxiety and confusion on the part of your team members, accompanied by a rise in unproductive behaviors?
Leaders today need to be able to create inspiring workplaces that truly engage team members to give their best to the organization.
There are some simple truths when we look at engagement:
1. When times get tough, give more!
It’s inevitable in business that you’ll face a period of time when things don’t go as smoothly as you’d like them to.
These valleys in business are the opportune time to rally your team and support their engagement by investing in preparing both yourself and them, for when business bounces back.
While many business owners pull back on the reigns and curb spending, studies have shown that companies who forge forward and utilize these times as an opportunity to grow, felt that they have been better equipped and more engaged when business returned or the slow period let up.
2. Engagement is like simple multiplication – but, it works both ways
If you have a disengaged team, and you aren’t sure why, do one simple thing; look in the mirror. Your behavior, your enthusiasm, your connection and passion with what you do – it trickles down to your team members, whether you like it or not. Engagement starts at the top and more and more research is being done, and it’s evidence points to the fact that an organizations people are essentially the byproduct of their leaders, in terms of how engaged they are with what they do, and how they conduct themselves.
If you’re a leader who is engaged, you can expect engagement to multiply in your organization. What’s equally as important to recognize is that disengagement multiplies just as easily as it’s positive counterpart.
3. It is certain you’ll face uncertainty
Uncertain times often provoke a need for change, and change requires us to evolve. The ability to embrace change and then proactively manage your business and your people will be the success model of those who fearlessly face the challenges that change can bring. Engagement is what drives you to innovate solutions that contribute to overcoming the challenges before you.
Uncertainty is inevitable. You can, however, be certain to manage it effectively.
4. Engagement drives creativity. Creativity drives innovation
When your team is more engaged, not only do they feel more apart of the success of your organization, but they also perform better and are more likely to contribute ideas. In addition to the fact that your people are more engaged, the byproducts can be plentiful and phenomenal; increased loyalty, greater profitability, improved revenues, and higher client satisfaction – the list goes on, and on.
How do you engage your team? Here’s a list of things, to get you started:
1. Stop calling your human capital ‘employees’ and start referring to them as ‘team members’
This simple change immediately instills a greater sense of belonging. It breaks down barriers between you, and them. Today’s workforce is motivated by feeling like they’re a part of something more than just a hierarchal reporting structure. Whether you own the business, manage it or supervise a group of people – introducing this vocabulary will let them know you see them as more than just someone who reports to you.
2. Involve your team members
When you involve your team, you root them more in the organization and allow them to ingratiate not only themselves to the business, but their ideas and energy. When you draw on their opinion and ideas, you’ll uncover a well of knowledge and expertise you may not have known existed.
3. Be transparent
When you share your success plan for the company with your team, you allow them to understand things like how the business makes money, loses money, and the expenses and costs that go into simply unlocking the front door every single day. It’s in this transparency that your team will begin to see how they contribute to the success personally.
4. Be honest
Your team will value when you are honest with them about how things are going with the business. When things aren’t going as well as planned, you’ll find them rallying their energy to overcome any challenges you face, to see the business successfully come back on course. Being honest maintains not only your integrity, but also your credibility. When you’re honest, they’ll support you and your objectives for the organization.
5. Embrace Performance Reviews
When executed properly, performance reviews can be the single positive differentiator between a leader, and an engaged leader. Set aside regularly scheduled time with your team members, individually and as a team, to discuss both their accomplishments and the areas you feel they can improve upon. As it relates to the areas of opportunity, team members are engaged when they are called upon to discover the solutions to navigate them to success, so ask them for ways they think will step up their game.
6. Thank your team for what they do
Thanking team members for the ways they contribute to the success of the organization, and ultimately, your success – is essential. Studies show that it is the single biggest motivator, moreover than other rewards, including those of monetary value. While other rewards are appreciated – start with ‘thank you’, and be sure to do it as soon as you notice they’ve done something deserving of recognition.
Engaged leaders build engaged teams. It starts at the top, and without engaged leadership, organizations simply can’t engage the hearts and minds of their employees. Engagement is the emotional and intellectual involvement that motivates employees to contribute to organizational success.
Knowing this – as a leader – ask yourself; “How engaged am I?” FBA
Codi Shewan is the President and Founder of EverLearn Associates, a full service, comprehensive training and development firm, for the funeral profession – aimed at engaging and building dynamic teams and successful businesses. In his former role with a national funeral service provider, as the National Manager of Training & Development, he trained teams of funeral directors across the country, and is a recognized speaker internationally in the Bereavement and Death Care Services sector. To learn more about what Codi does and how you can work together, visit www.everlearnassociates.com.